- Title: Argentina’s FM defends stance on Falkland Islands
- Date: 5th October 2016
- Summary: STANLEY, FALKLAND ISLANDS (FILE - 2013) (REUTERS) HOMES ON THE FALKLAND ISLANDS VARIOUS OF FALKLAND RESIDENTS WITH UNION JACK FLAGS AT SEA, FALKLAND ISLANDS (FILE) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF AN OFFSHORE OIL RIG
- Embargoed: 20th October 2016 19:29
- Keywords: Argentina United Kingdon U.K. Falkland Islands Susan Malcorra Falklands War Malvinas
- Location: BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA / STANLEY, SAN CARLOS BAY, PORT STANLEY, FALKLAND ISLANDS / AT SEA
- City: BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA / STANLEY, SAN CARLOS BAY, PORT STANLEY, FALKLAND ISLANDS / AT SEA
- Country: Argentina
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00252QDB9F
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3
Argentine Foreign Minister, Susana Malcorra continued to come under fire by the opposition in her country on Wednesday (October 5) after Britain and Argentina last month agreed to work together towards removing measures restricting the oil and gas, shipping and fishing industries around the disputed Falkland Islands.
"Instead of a solely confrontational strategy, like we interpret we have had in the past few years, it is worthwhile to make room for dialogue to find ways to come together which will eventually make it easier to find a solution to the root problem. That is what the communique says. We've created a wide area for dialogue with the United Kingdom. And, as part of this communique, the United Kingdom, in that joint communique, accepts the reference to the issue of sovereignty which is in dispute," Malcorra said.
Argentina claims sovereignty over the British-run islands it calls Las Malvinas and the issue has strained relations for decades, culminating in a war in 1982.
The Falklands are inhabited by about 3,000 people, the overwhelming majority of whom say they wish the islands to remain a British overseas territory.
Tensions flared last year, but Britain has been keen to improve relations since pro-business Mauricio Macri took over from Cristina Fernandez as Argentina's president in December.
"In a positive spirit, both sides agreed to set up a dialogue to improve cooperation on South Atlantic issues of mutual interest," said a joint communique by both countries.
"In this context it was agreed to take the appropriate measures to remove all obstacles limiting the economic growth and sustainable development of the Falkland Islands, including in trade, fishing, shipping and hydrocarbons," it said.
The communique was agreed following a series of meetings in Buenos Aires between Macri, Malcorra and Alan Duncan, Britain's Minister of State for Europe and the Americas.
Malcorra, who was was nominated by Macri as a candidate to become Secretary-General of the United Nations, said she had a "competitive advantage" to do the job.
Opposition Senator, Ruperto Godoy, implied that Malcorra's wish to become Secretary-General, had made her biased in terms of the agreement with the United Kingdom.
"I wanted to ask you, if you are prioritizing, with this, the votes for the United Nations and giving up the possibility to be able to [chatter from audience] I mean, come on," Godoy said.
Previously, Malcorra had stints at the U.N. World Food Programme, and served as U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon's chief-of-staff. She has also worked as chief executive at Telecom Argentina.
Former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres is poised to be the ninth United Nations Secretary-General and is expected to be formally recommended to the 193-member General Assembly for election by the Security Council on Thursday (October 6), diplomats said.
Malcorra refuted Godoy's claims.
"I was the one at the decolonization committee. I was the one who spoke at the decolonization committee. And I was the one who was able to get approval at the decolonization committee, I say again, without any opposition whatsoever, the resolution that came out of the decolonization committee. This just shows that my being Argentine and my being a candidate for secretary general do not contradict each other. If you see it differently, I am sorry, but that's how it's been, that's how it is and that's how it's going to be," Malcorra said.
For years, Argentine war veterans have been building a rights case. They have said the worst thing about serving in the Falklands was the systematic abuse they suffered at the hands of their officers during the 1982 war.
An unidentified veteran of the Falklands War criticised the government for not solving the internal issue at hand.
"They're making an agreement with the United Kingdom but they don't resolve the internal issue, which is ours. And to us it's like the famous internal debt, because as Galeano says (Uruguayan writer, Eduardo Galeano) we're the "nobodies" and we want to be "somebody." We want to be war veterans and we no longer want to be NN (soldiers) of Argentinean history which is what we are right now," he said.
The Argentine invasion to enforce its historic claim on the Falklands is widely seen as a mistake by the already discredited military junta, but for years the veterans' fate was taboo -- a painful memory that most people wanted to forget.
A total of 8,000 Argentine conscripts served during the war in which 649 Argentines and 255 British troops were killed. It ended with Argentina's June 14 surrender, 10 weeks after invading the islands a few hundred miles (kilometres) east of its coast.
According to ex-servicemen's groups, 450 Falklands war veterans have committed suicide and some blame the cruel punishments they accuse officers of meting out in the islands.
The case has been backed by human rights groups such as the famous Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, who have marched for years to find out the fate of their children who were kidnapped and killed during the 1976-1983 "dirty war" dictatorship.
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